Gary Snyder | Wikipedia audio article



Gary Snyder born May 8 1930 is an American man of letters perhaps best known as a poet often associated with The Beat Generation and the San Francisco Renaissance he is also an essayist lecturer an environmental activist he has been described as the poet laureate of Deep Ecology Snyder as a winner of a Pulitzer Prize for poetry and the American Book Award his work in his various roles reflects an immersion in both Buddhist spirituality in nature Snyder has translated literature into English from ancient Chinese and modern Japanese Snyder was an academic at the University of California Davis and a member of the California Arts Council topic life and career topic early life Guerry Sherman Snyder was born in San Francisco California to Harold and Lois Hennessy Snyder Snyder is of German scots-irish and English ancestry his family impoverished by the Great Depression moved to King County Washington when he was two years old there they tended dairy cows kept laying hens had a small orchard and made cedar wood shingles at the age of seven Snyder was laid up for four months by an accident so my folks brought me piles of books from the Seattle Public Library he recalled an interview and it was then I really learned to read and from that time on was voracious I figure that accident changed my life at the end of four months I had read more than most kids do by the time they're 18 and I didn't stop also during his 10 childhood years in Washington Snyder became aware of the presence of the Coast Salish people and developed an interest in the Native American peoples in general and their traditional relationship with nature in 1942 following his parents divorce Snyder moved to Portland Oregon with his mother and his younger sister Anthea their mother Lois Schneider Hennessy born Wilke worked during this period as a reporter for The Oregonian one of Gary's boyhood jobs was as a newspaper copy boy also at the Oregonian also during his teen years he attended Lincoln High School worked as a camp counselor and went mountain climbing with the MS amma's youth group climbing remained an interest of his especially during his 20s and 30s in 1947 he started attending Reed College on a scholarship here he met and for a time roomed with the education author Carl pujan and became acquainted with Philip Whalen and Lou Welch during his time at Reed Snyder published his first poems in a student journal in 1948 he spent the summer working as a seaman to get this job he joined the now-defunct Marine cooks and stewards union and would later work as a seaman in the mid-1950s to gain experience of other cultures in port cities Snyder married Allison gas in 1950 however they separated after seven months and divorced in 1952 while attending Reed Snyder did folklore research on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation in Central Oregon he graduated with a dual degree in anthropology and literature in 1951 Snyder's senior thesis entitled the dimensions of a myth employed perspectives from anthropology folklore psychology and literature to examine a myth of the Pacific Northwest Haida people he spent the following few summers working as a timber scaler at Warm Springs developing relationships with its people that were less rooted in academia this experience formed the basis for some of his earliest published poems including a berry feast later collected in the book the backcountry he also encountered the basic ideas of Buddhism and through its arts some of the Far East traditional attitudes toward nature he went to Indiana University with a graduate fellowship to study anthropology Snyder also began practicing self-taught Zen meditation he left after a single semester to return to San Francisco and to sink or swim as a poet Snyder worked for two summers in the North Cascades in Washington as a fire lookout on crater Mountain in 1952 and sourdough Mountain in 1953 both locations on the upper Skagit River his attempts to get another Lookout stent in 1954 at the peak of McCarthyism however failed he had been barred from working for the government due to his association with the Marine Kooks and stewards instead he went back to Warm Springs to work in logging as a choker setter fastening cables to logs this experience contributed to his myths and texts in the essay ancient forests of the far west topic the beats back in San Francisco Snyder lived with Waylon who shared his growing interest in Zen Snyder's reading of the writings of DT Suzuki had in fact been a factor in his decision not to continue as a graduate student in anthropology and in 1953 he enrolled at the University of California Berkeley to study Asian culture and languages he studied ink and wash painting under Torah Obata and Tang Dynasty poetry under team she sang Snyder continued to spend summers working in the forests including one summer as a trail builder in Yosemite he spent some months in 1955 and 1956 living in a cabin which he dubbed Marin an outside Mill Valley California with Jack Kerouac it was also at this time that Schneider was an occasional student at the American Academy of Asian Studies where Saburo Hasegawa and Alan Watts among others were teaching Hasegawa introduced Schneider to the treatment of landscape painting as a meditative practice this inspired Schneider to attempt something equivalent in poetry and with Hasegawa encouragement he began work on mountains and rivers without end which would be completed and published 40 years later during these years Schneider was writing and collecting his own work as well as embarking on the translation of the cold mountain poems by the eighth century Chinese Rekluse han-shan this work appeared in chapbook form in 1959 under the title riprap and cold mountain poems schneider met allen ginsberg when the latter sought Snyder out on the recommendation of Kenneth Rexroth then through Ginsburg Schneider and Kerouac came to know each other this period provided the materials for Kerouac's novel the Dharma bums and Snyder was the inspiration for the novel's main character Jaffe Rider in the same way Neal Cassady had inspired Dean Moriarty and on the road as the large majority of people in the Beat movement had urban backgrounds writers like Ginsberg and Kerouac found Snyder with his backcountry and manual labor experience and interest in things rural refreshing an almost exotic individual Lawrence Ferlinghetti later referred to Snyder as the Thoreau of The Beat Generation Snyder read his poem a berry feast at the poetry reading at the six Gallery in San Francisco October 7th 1955 that heralded what was to become known as the San Francisco Renaissance this also marked Snyder's first involvement with the beets although he was not a member of the original New York circle but rather entered the scene through his association with Kenneth Rexroth as recounted in Kerouac's Dharma bums even at age 25 Schneider felt he could have a role in the fateful future meeting of West and East Snyder's first book riprap which drew on his experiences as a forest lookout and on the trail crew in Yosemite was published in 1959 topic Japan and India independently some of the beets including Philip Whalen had become interested in Zen but Snyder was one of the more serious scholars of the subject preparing in every way he could think of her eventual study in Japan in 1955 the first Zen Institute of America offered him a scholarship for a year of Zen training in Japan but the State Department refused to issue him a passport informing him that it has been alleged you are a communist a subsequent District of Columbia Court of Appeals ruling forced a change in policy and Snyder got his passport in the end his expenses were paid by Ruth fuller Sasaki for whom he was supposed to work but initially he served as personal attendant and English tutor to Zen Abbot Miura issue at Rinku in a temple in Shikoku G in Kyoto where Dwight Goddard and RH Blythe had preceded him mornings after zazen sutra chanting and chores for Miura he took Japanese classes bringing his spoken Japanese up to a level sufficient for Cohen study he developed a friendship with Philip II and Polsky who took him around Kyoto in early July 1955 he took refuge and requested to become Muir as disciple thus formally becoming a Buddhist he returned to California via the Persian Gulf Turkey Sri Lanka and various Pacific Islands in 1958 voyaging as a crewman in the engine room on the oil freighter sapa Creek and took up residence at Marin and again he turned one room into a zendo with about six regular participants in early June he met the poet Joanne Kiger she became his girlfriend and eventually his wife in 1959 he shipped for Japan again where he rented a cottage outside Kyoto he became the first foreign disciple of Odessa so Roshi the new abbot of Dido Kuji he married Chaya on February 28 1960 immediately after her arrival which Sasaki insisted they do if they were to live together and be associated with the first Zen Institute of America Snyder and Joanne Kiger were married from 1960 to 1965 during the period between 1956 and 1969 Snyder went back and forth between California and Japan studying Zen working on translations with Ruth fuller Sasaki and finally living for a while with a group of other people on the small volcanic island of sawano Jima his previous study of written Chinese assisted his immersion in the center addition with its roots in Tang Dynasty China and enabled him to take on certain professional projects while he was living in Japan Snyder received the Zen precepts in a dharma named tofu listen to the wind and lived sometimes as a de facto monk but never registered to become a priest and planned eventually to return to the United States to turn the wheel of the Dharma during this time he published a collection of his poems from the early to mid 50s myths and texts 1960 and six sections from mountains and rivers without end 1965 this last was the beginning of a project that he was to continue working on until the late 1990s much of Snyder's poetry expresses experiences environments and insights involved with the work he has done for a living lager fire lookout steam freighter crew translator carpenter an itinerant poet among other things during his years in Japan Schneider was also initiated into shugendo a form of ancient Japanese animism see also Yamabushi in the early 1960s he travelled for six months through India with his wife Joanne Allen Ginsberg and Peter Orlovsky Snyder and Joanne Kiger separated soon after a trip to India and divorced in 1965 topic Dharma bums in the 1950s Snyder took part in the rise of a strand of Buddhist anarchism emerging from the BEP movement Snyder was the inspiration for the character Jaffe Rider in Jack Kerouac's novel the Dharma bums 1958 Snyder had spent considerable time in Japan studying Zen Buddhism and in 1961 published an essay Buddhist anarchism where he described the connection he saw between these two traditions originating in different parts of the world the mercy of the West has been social revolution the mercy of the East has been individual insight into the basic self void he advocated using such memes as civil disobedience outspoken criticism protest pacifism voluntary poverty and even gentle violence and defended the right of individuals to smoke ganja eat peyote be polygamous polyandrous are homosexual which he saw as being banned by the Judeo capitalist Christian Marxist West you topic Kitka dizzy in 1966 Schneider joined Allen Ginsberg zantetsu Richard Baker Roshi of the San Francisco Zen Center and Donald Walters aka Swami Kree Ananda to buy 100 acres 0.40 square kilometers in the Sierra Foothills north of Nevada City California in 1970 this would become his home with the Snyder family's portion being named Kit Kat dizzy Snyder spent the summers of 1967 and 1968 with a group of Japanese back-to-the-land dropouts known as the tribe unser wanna see Jima a small Japanese island in the East China Sea where they combed the beaches gathered edible plants and fished on the island on August 6 1967 he married Misawa Hara whom he had met in Osaka a year earlier in 1968 they moved to California with their infant son Kai born April 1968 their second son Jen was born a year later in 1971 they moved to the San Juan Ridge in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada of Northern California near the South Yuba River where they and friends built a house that drew on rural Japanese and Native American architectural ideas in 1967 his book the backcountry appeared again mainly a collection of poems stretching back over about 15 years Snider devoted a section at the end of the book to his translations of eighteen poems by kenji miyazawa topic later life and writings regarding wave appeared in January 1970 a stylistic departure offering poems that were more emotional metaphoric and lyrical from the late 1960s the content of Snyder's poetry increasingly had to do with family friends and community he continued to publish poetry throughout the 1970s much of it reflecting his reemerging in life on the American continent and his involvement in the back to the land movement in the Sierra Foothills his 1974 book turtle island titled after a Native American name for the North American continent won a Pulitzer Prize it also influenced numerous West Coast Generation X writers including Alex Stefan Bruce Barkin and Mark Morford his 1983 book axe handles won an American Book Award Snyder wrote numerous essays setting forth his views on poetry culture social experimentation and the environment many of these were collected in earth household 1969 the old ways 1977 the real work 1980 the practice of the wild 1990 a place in space 1995 and the Gary Snyder reader 1999 in 1979 Snyder published he who hunted birds in his father's village the dimensions of a Haida myth based on his read thesis Snyder's journals from his travel in India in the mid-1960s appeared in 1983 under the title passage through India in these his wide-ranging interests in cultures natural history religions social critique contemporary America and hands-on aspects of rural life as well as his ideas on literature were given full-blown articulation in 1986 Snyder became a professor in the writing program at the University of California Davis Snyder is now professor emeritus of English Snyder was married to Ihara for 22 years the couple divorced in 1989 Snyder married Carol Lynn coda October 3rd 1947 to June 29th 2006 who would ride homegrown 13 brothers and sisters a century in America in 1991 and remained married to her until her death of cancer she had been born in the third generation of a successful japanese-american farming family noted for its excellent rice she shared buddhism extensive travels and work with snyder and performed independent work as a naturalist as Snider's involvement in environmental issues and his teaching grew he seemed to move away from poetry for much of the 1980s and early 1990s however in 1996 he published the complete mountains and rivers without end a mixture of the lyrical and epic mode celebrating the act of inhabitation on a specific place on the planet this work was written over a 40-year period it has been translated into Japanese French and Russian in 2004 Snyder published danger on Peaks his first collection of new poems in 20 years Snyder was awarded the Levinson prize from the journal poetry the American Poetry Society Shelley memorial award 1986 was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters 1987 and won the 1997 balling in prize for poetry in that same year the John Hay award for nature writing Snyder also has the distinction of being the first American to receive the Buddhism transmission award for 1998 from the Japan based Buckey ode end okey-okey foundation for his ecological and social activism Snyder was named as one of the 100 visionaries selected in 1995 by Utne reader Snyder's life and work was celebrated in John J Haley's 2010 documentary the practice of the wild the film which debuted at the 53rd San Francisco International Film Festival features wide-ranging running conversations between Snyder and poet writer and longtime colleague Jim Harrison filmed mostly on the Hurst ranch in San Simeon California the film also shows archival photographs and film of Snyder's life topic work topic poetics Gary Snyder uses mainly common speech patterns as the basis for his lines though his style has been noted for its flexibility and the variety of different forms his poems have taken he typically used neither conventional meters nor intentional rhyme love and respect for the primitive tribe honor accorded the earth the escape from city and industry into both the past and the possible contemplation the communal such according to Glenn Maxwell is the awareness and commitment behind the specific poems the author and editor Stuart brand once wrote Gary Snyder's poetry addresses the life planet identification with unusual simplicity of style and complexity of effect according to Jody Morgan this simplicity and complexity derives from Snyder's use of natural imagery geographical formations flora and fauna in his poems such imagery can be both sensual at a personal level yet universal and generic in nature in the 1968 poem beneath my hand and either distant Hills your body the author compares the intimate experience of a lover's caress with the mountains hills cinder cones and craters of the Uinta Mountains readers become explorers on both a very private level as well as a very public and grand level a simplistic touch becoming a very complex interaction occurring at multiple levels this is the effect Snyder intended in an interview with fast he states there is a direction which is very beautiful and that's the direction of the organism being less and less locked into itself less and less locked into its own body structure and it's relatively inadequate sense organs towards a state where the organism can actually go out from itself and share itself with others Snyder has always maintained that his personal sensibility arose from his interest in Native Americans and their involvement with nature and knowledge of it indeed their way seemed to resonate with his own and he has sought something akin to this through Buddhist practices Yamabushi initiation and other experiences and involvement however since his youth he has been quite literate and he has written about his appreciation of writers of similar sensibilities like D H Lawrence William Butler gates and some of the great ancient Chinese poets William Carlos Williams was another influence especially on Snyder's earliest published work starting in high school Snyder read and loved the work of Robinson Jeffers his predecessor in poetry of the landscape of the American West but whereas Jeffers valued nature over humankind Snyder saw humankind as part of nature Snyder commented an interview I have some concerns that I'm continually investigating that tied together biology mysticism prehistory general Systems Theory Snyder argues that poets and humans in general need to adjust to very long timescales especially when judging the consequences of their actions his poetry examines the gap between nature and culture so as to point to ways in which the two can be more closely integrated in 2004 receiving the masau'u keshiki international haiku Awards grand prize Snyder highlighted traditional ballads and folk songs Native American songs and poems William Blake Walt Whitman Jeffers Ezra Pound no drama Zen aphorisms Federico Garcia Lorca and Robert Duncan as significant influences on his poetry but added the influence from haiku and from the Chinese as I think the deepest topic Romanticism Schneider is among those riders who have sought to diss entrench conventional thinking about primitive people's that has viewed them as simple-minded ignorantly superstitious brutish and prone to violent emotionalism in the 1960s Snyder developed a– neo tribalist view akin to the post modernist theory of french sociologist Michel ma facili the Reid tribal ization of the modern mass society world envisioned by Marshall McLuhan with all of the ominous dystopian possibilities that McLuhan warned of subsequently accepted by many modern intellectuals is not the future that Snyder expects or works toward Snyder's is a positive interpretation of the tribe and of the possible future Tod Anson describes Snyder's interpretation as blending ancient tribal beliefs and traditions philosophy physicality and nature with politics to create his own form of postmodern environmentalism Snyder rejects the perspective which portrays nature and humanity in direct opposition to one another instead he chooses to write from multiple viewpoints he purposely sets out to bring about change on the emotional physical and political levels by emphasizing the ecological problems faced by today's society topic beat Gary Snyder is widely regarded as a member of The Beat Generation Circle of writers he was one of the poets that read at the famous six gallery event and was written about in one of Kerouac's most popular novels the Dharma bums some critics argue that Snyder's connection with the beats is exaggerated and that he might better be regarded as a part of the San Francisco Renaissance which developed independently Snyder himself has some reservations about the label beat but does not appear to have any strong objection to being included in the group he often talks about the beats in the first-person plural referring to the group as we and us a quotation from a 1974 interview at the University of North Dakota Writers Conference published in the Beat vision I never did know exactly what was meant by the term the beats but let's say that the original meeting Association comradeship of Allen Ginsberg myself Michael McClure Lawrence Ferlinghetti Philip Whalen who's not here Lou Welch who's dead Gregory Corso for me to a somewhat lesser extent I never knew Gregory as well as the others did embody a criticism and a vision which we shared in various ways and then went our own ways for many years where we began to come really close together again in the late 60s and gradually working toward this point it seems to me was when Allen began to take a deep interest in oriental thought and then in Buddhism which added another dimension to our levels of agreement and later through Allen's influence Lawrence began to draw toward that and from another angle Michael and I after the lapse of some years of contact found our heads very much in the same place and it's very curious and interesting now and Lawrence went off in a very political direction for a while which none of us had any objection with except that wasn't my main focus it's very interesting that we find ourselves so much on the same ground again after having to explore divergent paths and find ourselves united on this position of powerful environmental concern critique of the future of the individual state and an essentially shared poetics and only half stated but in the background very powerfully there a basic agreement on some Buddhist type psychological views of human nature and human possibilities Snyder has also commented the term beat is better used for a smaller group of writers the immediate group around Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac plus Gregory course and a few others many of us belong together in the category of the San Francisco Renaissance still be can also be defined as a particular state of mind and I was in that mind for a while topic bibliography riprap in cold mountain poems 1959 myths in texts 1966 sections from mountains and rivers without end 1965 the backcountry 1967 regarding wave 1969 earth household 1969 turtle island 1974 the old ways 1977 hugh hunted birds in his father's village the dimensions of a Haida myth 1979 the real work interviews in talks 1964 – 1979 1980 ax handles 1983 passage through India 1983 left out in the rain 1988 the practice of the wild 1990 know nature new and selected poems 1992 a place in space 1995 narrator of the audiobook version of Kazuaki 10 AHA she's moon in a dew drop from Dogon Shobha Genzo mountains and rivers without end 1996 the geography of home poetry book 1999 the Gary Snyder reader prose poetry and translations 1999 the High Sierra of California with Tom Killian 2002 look out a selection of writings November 2002 danger on Peaks 2005 back on the fire essays 2007 the selected letters of Allen Ginsberg and Gary Snyder 1956 – 1991 2009 Tamalpais walking with Tom Killian 2009 the etiquette of freedom with Jim Harrison 2010 film by will Hurst with book edited by Paul urban camp nobody home riding Buddhism and living in places with Julia Martin Trinity University Press 2014 this present moment April 2015 distant neighbors the selected letters of Wendell Barry and Gary Snyder May 2015 the great Claude notes and memories on the natural history of China and Japan March 2016 topic notes topics sources Chartres and Eadie the portable beat reader Penguin Books New York 1992 ISBN no six seven oh eight three eight eight five three see ISBN o1 401 5 1 o 2 8 p BK hunt Anthony Genesis structure and meaning in Garry Snyder's mountains and rivers without end Univ of Nevada press 2004 ISBN o eight seven four one seven five four five three night Arthur Winfield ed the beat vision 1987 Paragon House is B and O nine one three seven two nine four Oh X is BN o nine one three seven two nine four one eight PBK Kiger Jo Ann strange big moon the Japan and India journals 1962 1964 two thousand North Atlantic books is B and nine seven eight one five five six four three three three seven five Smith Erik Todd reading Gary Snyder's mountains and rivers without end 1999 Boise State University is B and nine seven eight zero eight eight four three oh one four one seven Snyder Gary the politics of ethno poetics 1975 Snyder sa a place in space Snyder Gary 1980 the real work interviews in talks 1964 to 1979 New Directions new york ISBN oh eight one one two oh seven six one seven HBK ISBN Oh eight one one two oh seven six zero nine pbk sterling Isabelle Zhen pioneer the life and works of Ruth fuller sasaki 2006 shoemaker and hoard ISBN nine seven eight one five nine three seven six one 103 Souter John poets on the peaks 2002 counterpoint ISBN 1 5 8 2 4 3 1 4 8 5 ISBN 1 5 8 2 4 3 2 9 4 5 pbk Western literature Association updating the literary West's 1997 texas christian university press ISBN 978 oh eight seven five six five one seven five Oh topic further reading Sherlock John 2010 Gary Snyder a bibliography of works by an about Gary Snyder UC Davis library topic external links works by or about Gary Snyder in library's WorldCat catalog Elliott Weinberger winter 1996 Gary Snyder the art of poetry number 74 The Paris Review profile at Poetry Foundation profile at poet's org Snyder talked mountains and rivers without end at the Smithsonian museums of Asian art I do one hour at the 12th of July 2008 talk program Shambhala Sun magazine article the wild mind of Gary Snyder by Trevor Carolyn and riders in the war against nature by Gary Snyder in shambhala Sun magazine 2007 public access TV interview Nevada County television 61 minutes Gary Snyder by Burt almond from the Western writers series digital editions at Boise State University New York Times profile a poem 40 years long the 6th of October 1996 Gary Snyder on art anarchy in the environment 2010 San Francisco Film Society interview Gary Snyder papers at special collections department University Library University of California Davis Gary Snyder letters to Shandell parks MSS 719 special collections and archives UC San Diego library records of Gary Snyder are held by Simon Fraser University special collections and rare books Western American literature journal Gary Snyder

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